Friday, 31 July 2009

July 31st: Bourbon Choco-Dutsumi

Kcal 375 Fat 12.8g Carbs 62.7g (per 4 pieces - 92.0g)

Thanks to J-List.com I am continually being introduced to some of the most bizarre products going in their confectionery market. Todays offering looked rather innocent at first glance but once I delved in further and actually looked up what they were on the J-list website I realised they were not a conventional western confection. These Bourbon Choco-Dutsumi came described as sweet rice mochi dumplings filled with milk chocolate ganache. This all sounded rather bizarre to me but as always I was willing to give these a go - it wasn't as if my scepticism hadn't been proved wrong before.

These came in a pack that weighed 184.0g and included eight individual pieces. The packaging as ever for a Japanese product was altogether pretty awesome. The glossy cardboard box featured an appealing looking picture and incorporated a cool opening mechanism which contained 2 separate plastic trays inside. The first thing I noticed when I opened the first plastic packet was the lack of smell that I could, or more aptly put, couldn't detect. This didn't to any degree make me feel any more comfortable with the concept of the product and the appearance of the odd looking sugar dusted jelly like pieces didn't particularly help either.

Picking the first piece up from the plastic tray I was alarmed at the feel of it in my hand. It felt like a mini stress ball and when it was squeezed it soon returned to its original round form within a few unnerving seconds. Having played around with the chocolates for long enough I took the plunge and finally bit into one. Just as expected the outer mochi dumpling had a very odd texture that felt like a firm jelly substance in the mouth. At first I was not completely at one with the feel of it in my mouth, though this anxiety soon disappeared when the flavours came through. The outer rice dumpling had a sweet taste that I would a like to scotch pancakes - slightly eggy but with a nice buttery, sugary taste. At the centre of the rather odd outer portion was a nicely flavoured chocolate ganache centre. It was wonderfully smooth in texture and had a rich and creamy chocolaty taste that complimented the dough like flavours of the mochi extremely well. Although the pieces were not particularly large and could be eaten in two bites, two at a time seemed a reasonable sized snack and their heavy feel made them feel really quite substantial.

Overall these were a pleasant surprise and were a really quite enjoyable snack once I had gotten over the initial odd feel of the outer mochi pancakes. They smelt of nothing, looked and felt a little odd but were actually really quite delicious. As far as Japanese confections go you can't really get any more authentic - mochi filled with chocolate cream might not sound your cup of tea but I would urge you to give these a try before you entirely dismiss them as not for you. It is always nice to come across a product that exceeds my expectations and I must admit that up until tasting these I was completely unconvinced by the product proposition. Although they are not the highest scoring ChocolateMission product reviewed ever I would recommend you give these a try - especially if you like trying more unique offerings from the market.

7.8 out of 10

Thursday, 30 July 2009

July 30th: Hotel Chocolat Mango Strips

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

With the help of the kind marketing guys at Hotel Chocolat I am slowly but surely making my way through their range. One of my favourite snacks that I often nibble on during the day is dried fruit, which almost always happens to be dried mango. Normally I just grab a bag from Tesco (the M&S stuff isn't great!) but today I got a whole new preserved mango experience thanks to these Hotel Chocolat Mango Strips. They came described as 'real mango pieces preserved and softened in mango liqueur, sealed in dark chocolate' which really sounded good to me.

These Mango Strips came in the same type of 150.0g cylinder container as the Ginger Strips I reviewed a few months ago. Presentation on the whole was pretty good - nothing about the exterior packaging really struck me as that special but I liked the photos of the mango fruits on the back and thought the photos of the actual product gave a reasonably accurate indication of the product. Opening the top and then the foil seal that lay below I was immediately struck by a waft of fruity, boozie scents that really set the mood for the taste to come. The chocolate covered fruit pieces varied in size considerably but this didn't bother me as it made the product feel altogether more authentic.

I must admit that at first taste I felt slightly let down by the outer chocolate. I am a huge fan of Hotel Chocolat's 72% & 85% recipes and I was disappointed to find that the dark chocolate implemented here was 50% cocoa. Don't get me wrong the chocolate was still very enjoyable; the melt was still absolutely divine and the taste was still impeccably smooth and rich with its cocoa flavours. The melt from the outer chocolate to the solid fruit that lay below was simply out of this world and the softness of the chocolate complimented the denser fruit superbly. The first thing that struck me about the mango below was that the really boozie smell didn't translate into the taste. Personally I thought this was a good thing as the citrusy, juicy flavours of the mango fruit came through superbly with the moist, fleshy texture. My only small gripe with the mango fruit itself was that at times some of the pieces were a little stringy which didn't feel at that great in the mouth. Just a few pieces of this chocolate drenched fruit complimented an after dinner coffee superbly - they possibly aren't the sort of thing you would want to snack on when on the move but for an after dinner occasion they seriously fit the bill.

Overall these Mango Strips get a big thumbs up from me aswell as the rest of my family who also thought they were absolutely delicious. Knowing the quality of Hotel Chocolat's stronger chocolates as I do, a little part of me was yearning for the outer dark chocolate to be of a greater strength. This though has to be a very minor criticism as the combination of the bitter chocolate and sweet fruity mango was simply luxurious and was one that I enjoyed each and every time I reach into the small tub. You can almost always determine whether a product was any good judging by the level of disappointment when its finished. Suffice to say there was mass disappointment when my families stock of Mango Strips ran out. The only question now is whether these count as part of your 'five-a-day?' :) I think probably not but I still whole heartily recommend them.

8.5 out of 10

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

July 29th: Ferrero Duplo

Kcal 146 Fat 10.0g Carbs 12.0g (per 26.0g stick)

You have to hand it to Ferrero for the sheer number of ways they have managed to combine three core ingredients - milk chocolate, hazelnut and wafer. Dean-German-Grocery have kindly sent me the Kinder Bueno, Giotto, Kusschen, Rocher and todays subject for review the 'Duplo'. The 'Duplo' is formed of a 'milk chocolate covered wafer with a cocoa creme and whole hazelnut centre'. As the rest of the range have been so good my hopes for this product were naturally pretty high.

I was sent a lot of five packets which each weighed a smallish 26.0g each. The packaging was a bit of a hybrid of Kinder Bueno and Ferrero Rocher in that it had a white background and illustrations, yet had the classy golden coloured Ferrero branding. The bars were split into three separate blocks of which you can see a cross-section above. Unfortunately my photography skills didn't manage to capture the whole hazelnut piece but in each there was a nut nestled in the cocoa creme. As pleased as I was with the presentation I was equally happy when I was met with a very familiar nutty Ferrero aroma when I opened the packaging.

As you will have seen in the picture the outer wafer and milk chocolate constituents were very similar to the Kinder Bueno and they delivered exactly the same experience. The milk chocolate was lacking a little bit in its portioning due to the thinness of the layer, though it did have the chocolate flavour hit that I desired. The milky sweet flavours of the chocolate were complimented nicely by the malty flavours of the wafer which also had a nice fresh crunch. The cocoa creme at the centre of each piece only added to the cocoa flavour hit that the outer chocolate brought to the party and had a very soft silky feel in the mouth. As I described above sitting in the cocoa creme in each block was a whole hazelnut and their bursts of nutty woody flavours didn't fail to disappoint. The nut pieces added another flavour dimension to the product and delivered it with a delightful fresh crunchy texture. The overall taste was delicious yet not the longest lasting; having finished one packet it wasn't long before I found myself reaching for another.

Overall I wasn't expecting anything different but I can confirm that the Ferrero Duplo can hang with any other of the milk chocolate, wafer and hazelnut variants in Ferrero's range. Despite sharing a similar problem with most of them in that it wasn't that satisfying as a snack, in regards to taste the bar delivered both a chocolate and nut flavour hit. I thought the textures were both varied and interesting, whilst the presentation on the whole was pretty good. If your a fan of Ferrero then you will know what to expect from this product. I wouldn't necessarily say it was any better or worse than any of the other options from the range but why not try it for yourself and see what you think!?

8.0 out of 10

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

July 28th: The Original Cookie Dough Bites Mint

Kcal 180 Fat 9.0g Fat(sats) 4.5g Carbs 27.0g (per 40.0g)

Today saw me come to the end of my journey looking at Taste of Nature's Cookie Dough Bites range with me finally getting around to trying the very last 'Mint' variant. Whilst I have been reviewing this line of products I have been eating them on their intended consumption occasion - at the cinema. The choice of film today was Public Enemies directed by Michael Mann and I would strongly recommend it if your a fan of the action genre. More importantly back on topic the snack that accompanied the film was formed of 'mint flavoured cookie dough covered in milk chocolate'.

I must say that out of all the Cookie Bites variants this was certainly the one that had the most suiting packaging and was the most interesting aesthetically out the packet. The outer cardboard box implemented a relevant green colour theme and communicated a fun and differentiated look compared to the other variants from the range. As with all the other flavours I was a little wary of the inner plastic packet (which I to this day still thinks a little clumsy!) but I did like the uniqueness of the pale green colour of the cookie dough that was contained within the milk chocolate. Just as expected the cookie dough pieces had a slight minty smell when the inner packaging was opened which didn't fail to appeal to me.

The last batch of Cookie Dough Bites I tried the other day (Peanut Butter) were pretty damn awful so these weren't going to have to try that hard to better them. I am glad to say that this was entirely the case and these in actual fact surprisingly ended up being my favourite from the entire lot. Just as I found with all the other milk chocolate variants from the selection the quality of the chocolate wasn't altogether that special yet still managed to provide a worthwhile set of chocolaty flavours with each piece. Unlike the Peanut Butter variant the melt wasn't as fast the sweet, milk based flavours generated by the chocolate lingered just that bit longer in the mouth which made them seem more substantial. The cookie dough at the centre of each piece brought all the sugary, wheaty dough flavours of many other of the variants but just with an added extra hint of peppermint which I thought was near perfectly implemented. The mint flavours were not overly strong yet still managed to generate a decent amount of flavour and left a lasting impression in the mouth providing a cooling sensation which negated the slight dryness of the cookie dough. Suffice to say the 88.0g pack was gobbled up between four of us in no time.

Overall these were far from being my favourite snack of all time but they were still the best of a pretty average product range. These were far superior to the Peanut Butter that I last tried - maybe on reflection the poorness of them made these seem all that bit better. What I can't deny is that these weren't enjoyed by one and all that tried them with everyone seeming coming to the same conclusion as myself ... Taste of Nature's Cookie Dough Bites range aren't in anyway really that special, but when put in the context of the boring cinema snacks we have here in the UK they are certainly worth at least trying once. If you do fancy trying them I would head to CandyPirate. Out of the lot I would suggest these mint flavoured ones - they were my personal favourites.

7.8 out of 10

Monday, 27 July 2009

July 27th: Paul.a.Young's Salted Caramel Chocolates

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Fresh off the back of his appearance on The Apprentice, about a month or so ago I was approached by one of Paul.a.Young's PR team who invited me to one of his in store exhibitions. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the day as I just so happened to be sitting my University Finals that week. On a brighter note Paul's team decided to send me some of his famous Salted Caramel chocolates which I had previously heard so much about. Having read some reviews on Chocablog and noted the gold medal award that they won at the Academy of Chocolate awards these Salted Caramel certainly came with a lot of promise ... here is what I thought of them.

Before I get into how they tasted as per usual I would like to pass a few comments on the presentation. Paul's team sent me a pack of nine chocolates which came beautifully presented in a ribboned box. Inside the chocolates were presented in cute purple coloured wrappers and were protected by a small paper layer. I thought that overall the presentation was simplistic in its sophistication and was not over the top or overly elaborate. The chocolates themselves were the size of large thimbles and emanated a genuinely fresh smelling sweet cocoa smell when the box was opened. As instructed by the packaging I stored these in the fridge as soon as I received them, this however didn't stop me digging straight in when they were at room temperature. For reasons that will be come obvious in a minute I would very much recommend you wait until they are nicely chilled.

There are no two ways of describing how these tasted - they were utterly delicious, yet I still thought there was the tiniest room without room for improvement. According to Paul's website the outer chocolate was formed of a Madagascan 62% recipe and much like the smell suggested it tasted wonderfully fresh and forthcoming with its cocoa flavours. As soon as the chocolate hit my tongue the cocoa flavours were evident and substantiated a nice chocolaty base tone to the taste. My only one criticism of these chocolates was that the chocolate itself was just a little too thin and the outer shell could have done with being just a touch thicker to make the chocolaty flavours last longer in the mouth. Minor criticism aside the transition from the smooth, silky melting chocolate to the soft, gooey caramel centre was fantastic yet maybe just a little short lived. The caramel that lay inside the chocolates was the finest I have ever tasted ... it was everything you wanted a caramel to be. It was sugary, sweet, buttery, syrupy, with floral, burnt sugar notes ... sorry for the list but the flavours that this caramel produced were so terrifically variable and explosive. The most important flavour hit was in the aftertaste of the caramel which was of course the promised salt lick. It was utterly marvellous and contrasted so fantastically well with the sweetness produced by the other components of the chocolate. The salt element not only made these delicious but also ever so moreish ... a cheeky chocolate soon turned into three cheeky chocolates.

Overall there is no doubting that Paul has struck gold with this recipe here. This could just be personal preference but if I had my own way the outer chocolate shell would be a touch thicker to make these more substantial. Due to the soft, near liquid like nature of the caramel and thinness of the chocolate these didn't last all that long in the mouth but it wasn't as if they didn't leave a lasting impression. I have said it once already but it is worth saying again ... the inner caramel was the finest I have ever tasted ... and boy have I tried my fill in my time. If you like your caramel chocolates then these are simply a must try. I would whole heartily recommend you visit Paul online or in one of his two stores - Paul has struck gold ... caramel gold!

8.5 out of 10

Sunday, 26 July 2009

July 26th: 7Days of Chocolate Reviews - Edition 7

Lets have a look what has gone in the last 7 days of ChocolateMission ...


The ChocolateMission Omnibus:

This week I took a look at two different Lindt summer offerings with the first being the Lindt Carribean Dream and later on Lindt's Tropical Temptation bar. Both managed to score over 8.0 and were met with positive feedback from readers such as Susanne, Brody and Phil who all spelled out their desire to try them.

Tuesday saw me tuck into the latest offering from New Zealand - Whittaker's Zestful Dark Orange which scored a very high 9.0. This one seem to catch the eye of Mark and Lu who made clear their love for dark chocolate and orange combinations.

Later into the week I touched upon the fine skill of breaking up biscuits with my review of the Prinzen Rolle, before I yesterday had the unfortunate experience of trying Otsuka's Calorie Mate Chocolate Blocks ... the latter of which was truly terrible BLEUH!

As noted by an anonymous poster yesterday everything came from far afield this week - I will be sure to bring you all some UK products in the coming days.


News from the Chocolate Market:

* Following on from the article I posted a few weeks ago this press release has some more information on the new products being released by Divine Chocolates in the near future. See HERE

* Cadbury have now got their new fairtrade bars into distribution - don't get too excited everyone it is just the standard Dairy Milk collection with some new wrappers (they look quite cool though!) See HERE

* Nestle have outlined their Xmas plans for this year ... looks like After Eight and Quality Street are the brands getting most the media spend backing. See HERE

* This one was submitted by Susanne and Phil during the week - Nestle UK have announced the launch of the Kit Kat Chunky Caramel ... lets pray it is as good as the one I reviewed from New Zealand. See HERE

* McVities are launching Milk Chocolate & Orange digestives .... mmm yes please! See HERE

* Mars are the latest manufacture to play on everyones nostalgic feelings with the relaunch of 'Treets' ... I can't remember them myself but they sound nicely to me. See HERE

* Heidi recommended I try this brand earlier in the week ... If Al Nassma gets launched here in the UK it will be a lot easier to do so. See HERE


Posts from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:

* TastingChocolates - This is a new site set up by ChocolateMission reader Chris. He is focusing on reviewing finer chocolates from around the globe. I really enjoyed reading his review of the Malagasy Mora Mora bar. See HERE

* ChocaBlog - Simon got stuck in into the Thorntons Milk Chocolate with Tonka Bean bar and gave it a similarly positive review to my own. See HERE

* GiGi Reviews - Tried the awesome looking Dove Peanut Butter Silky Smooth Chocolate. Damn Galaxy chocolate with peanut butter sounds awesome to me. GiGi thought it was relatively good but nothing special. See HERE

* Second Rate Snacks - Rice Krispie Squares vs Marshmallow Squares Crispy Rice ... surely there can only be one winner? See HERE


Question of the Week:

'Where do you buy most your chocolate from?'

... for me it depends on where its coming from ...

UK - where ever :D

Saturday, 25 July 2009

July 25h: Otsuka Calorie Mate Chocolate Block

Kcal 400 Fat 22.4g Carbs 40.0g (per 80.0g)

I have reviewed some pretty weird things in the last two years but hands down this has to be the oddest product of them all. Coming all the way from Japan courtesy of J-List I today got to try a product called 'Calorie Mate' - 'a nutritionally balanced source of the energy needed for daily activities'. According to the on-pack blurb Calorie Mate is 'suited for people on-the-go who need an easy source of energy and nutrition-at breakfast, work, sports, study or any bus time'. Despite my first thoughts being that anyone who didn't have enough time to eat in their lives should have a long hard think about their work-life balance, the whole concept had me a little intrigued.

The total Calorie Mate package weighed in at 80.0g which included two inner packet servings. To say the presentation was unglamourous would be an understatement. As I am sure you can see above the outer packaging simply consisted of a yellow cardboard board box with what looked like some design work constructed using Microsoft Word. The fonts looked uncompelling and basic, whilst the packaging lacked an visuals of what was inside ... utterly dismal. The inner packets were a little more impressive and were made of a nice branded foil material. Half the intrigue of this product was what the actual product was and once I had removed all the layers all was revealed. Inside the foil wrappers were biscuits that looked rather like shortbread fingers. They looked like they should have a sweet, biscuit smell though in reality they had an unfitting savoury wheat smell... a bit like Jacobs crackers!

To me the whole point of this product seemed for it to be a meal replacement one, so in the true spirit of a fair review I replaced my usual lunch time meal with the full Calorie Mate package. It was out with tuna baguette and in with these chocolate flavoured biscuits ... what a mistake this turned out to be. I don't really know where to start with these as they didn't tick any of the boxes of taste, texture or hunger fulfilment. They tasted like cardboard ... something that I not too often snack on :) but I think you get my drift! They biscuits were bland and lifeless in terms of flavour. They looked like shortbread yet had none of the taste. Where as I was expecting a buttery, brown sugar and salt hinted biscuit I simply got a dull, watered down malt taste that had nothing chocolaty about it whatsoever ... it was about as exciting as your nan's 97th birthday party. Perfectly complimenting this wonderful taste (sarcasm to the extreme) ... was the truly wonderfully inviting texture (sarcasm to the extreme x2). They felt truly woeful and were reminiscent of polystyrene with a dry crumbliness that seemed to suck every drop of moisture from my mouth. Just to top this all off despite managing to consumer 400 calories in just four quite small sized biscuits I still felt about as hungry as I did before I had the displeasure of eating them.

Overall to say I wouldn't ever consume these again even if I was paid would be an understatement. I think a score of 2.0 for both taste, texture and sustenance says it all ... they would have had got 1.0 had it not been due to the fact they were actually edible. For starters I don't understand the product ... who on earth would want to consume a meal in the form of four biscuits - even if you wanted to put on weight there are far more enjoyable ways of doing so and if your too busy to eat then why the hell are you reading this website :) Couple my lack of understanding for the product with the fact that they presented badly and tasted woeful pretty much sums up where I am at with my mind with Calorie Mate. Does it have novelty value!? Possibly! Is it worth trying in regards to be a nice snack!? I don't think I need to answer that! You can buy Calorie Mate from J-List here ... why on earth you would want do I do not know!

2.8 out of 10

Friday, 24 July 2009

July 24th: The Original Cookie Dough Bites Peanut Butter

Kcal 200 Fat 12.0g Fat(sats) 5.0g Carbs 24.0g (per 40.0g)

Those of you who have been reading the site for the last couple of weeks will be aware that I am currently making my way through Taste of Nature's Cookie Dough Bites range thanks to my pals at CandyPirate. Having tried the Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate and Fudge Brownie flavours already, I today got around to sampling my most eagerly anticipated variant - the Peanut Butter flavoured. I didn't quite know how these two vastly different ingredients would combine but I was certainly willing to see what these 'milk chocolate coated peanut butter flavoured cookie dough bites' could offer.

In line with the rest of the flavours from the range this variant also came in a 88.0 box that contained one single cellophane packet with the pieces enclosed. Presentationwise all was very familiar with the peanut butter flavour communicated through the use of a relevant orange background colour on the packaging. Inside the pieces enclosed within the inner wrapper were noticeably more greasy than the other variants I have tried thus far and there were visible oily marks on the packet innards. I guess this was a bi-product of the peanut content - it is not exactly the first peanut butter confectionery product I have seen this happen to. Although the greasy marks were something I could live with I was more alarmed at the lack nuttiness in the aroma as all I could detect was a slight chocolaty sweet smell.

The thoughts running through my head before I ate these were - are theses going to taste more like peanut butter? Or more like Cookie Dough? Having eaten them I can confirm that this was a pretty redundant pattern of thought. Placing the first few pieces in my mouth the oily texture was all but apparent and noticeably made the melt of the outer chocolate faster. This not only hampered the texture of the melt somewhat but also meant that the flavours of the chocolate in the mouth were not as lasting as with previous variants. Frankly this was the least of this product's problems as the peanut butter cookie dough was pretty abysmal. It neither really tasted of peanuts or cookie dough ... it was almost as if it was just a sugary fondant. This ultimately proved to be a massive problem as the already sweet taste of the chocolate was only further compounded by the sickeningly sweet sugar flavours at the centre of each piece. To say these completely lacked any peanut flavours would be an over reaction - they were there somewhere in the background of the sickly taste - I will say though that these didn't have a cookie dough influence whatsoever. The pack suggested I ate the 88.0g box in two sittings .... I must admit I gave up on these after a few mouthfuls.

Overall this product just goes to prove that if something sounds to good to be true ... it probably is. The combination of peanut butter and cookie dough sounds absolutely sinful. the only really sinful thing about these was how bad they were. It is pretty simple to see where these went wrong - the taste not only lacked of peanut butter but also cookie dough which was obviously never going to a good story for a product billed as peanut butter flavoured cookie dough. Although these were the ones I was most looking forward to trying I still have one flavour left and that review will be coming shortly. In regards to these though I would advise you to leave them well alone and choose either a Reese's product or another from the Taste of Nature range.

4.2 out of 10


Thursday, 23 July 2009

July 23rd: Lindt Tropical Temptation

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

Following on from my review of the Lindt Carribean Dream the other day I today tried another similarly themed bar named 'Tropical Temptation'. Of course as is normal practice I must thank Dean-German-Grocery for providing me the opportunity to sample this product - my mind boggles sometimes at the thought of what the chocolate store shelves look like in German supermarkets as there just seem to be a never ending amount of different flavours and formats. The added ingredients to todays milk chocolate bar were mango, pineapple and passionfruit which I thought made for a pretty interesting if a little busy sounding mix.

The bar came in a standard 100.0g format that I ate over the course of three sittings with the help of some willing friends. I thought the packaging had nice stand out as the pictures of the fruit immediately grabbed my attention and highlighted the fruity nature of the product with their variance in colours. As always the bar was nicely sealed by a branded silver foil layer which did its usual job of maintaining the aesthetics of the chocolate itself. On pack the wrapper displayed the chocolate to have small bits embedded in it - when I inspected the bar these were very sparse in their integration and when it came to eating it didn't have a notable impact on the texture. Up to this point the product really had been billed up in my mind to provide a big fruit punch and this was only further cemented by the sweet fruity smells that were emitted when I broke the foil seal.

One thing I must say about this bar was that the taste was very consistent despite there being three different fruits involved. Part of me was expecting each of them to come through stronger in certain blocks but what I found was that each block pretty much tasted the same. In terms of cocoa strength the milk chocolate was a little underpowered for me and at times I thought that too much of an emphasis had been placed on the milk flavours making it more of a carrier for the fruit elements involved. Despite this I don't think this chocolate could ever be accused of lacking flavour as the fruit elements certainly built upon the creamy base taste. The first fruit to come to the part was the pineapple which had a constant sweet sugary presence throughout the majority of the taste. As the smooth melt of the chocolate progressed the more distinct flavours of the mango and passionfruit came in to play with their slightly tarter more soured fruit notes. The contrast between the sweet pineapple and slightly more acidic flavours of the mango and passionfruit were on the whole pretty well balanced, though I must say that in the aftertaste of some blocks I did get a slight burning sensation at the back of my throat which put me off consuming this chocolate in any great quantity.

Overall the sheer amount of fruit flavoured chocolates I have tried this Summer has meant that this one has sort of just blurred in my memory. By that I mean that as far as it goes it was a pretty decent chocolate, yet it did nothing to make it really stand out in my mind as something spectacular like say the Hotel Chocolat Tutti Frutti. The milk chocolate was prehaps a little on the weak side for me but on the balance of things I guess the milder cocoa taste allowed the different fruit influences to come into play a little more. The fruits flavours were balanced reasonably well though at times the acidic nature of all them combined did get a little wearing on the throat. If you fancy getting stuck into some fruit flavoured chocolate this summer this is a very decent one to get involved with, but just not the best.

8.4 out of 10

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

July 22nd: Prinzen Rolle

Kcal 174 Fat 7.2g Fat(sats) 4.7g Carbs 13.0g (per 2 biscuits)

It is amazing what a pack of foreign biscuits can do for you. I swear I have gone from being the 'new guy' at work to everones new 'best mate' with the simple gift of a pack of biscuits that I contributed to the office tea area. Mind you I can't take full credit - Dean-German-Grocery supplied with these biscuits as they are a product manufactured in Deutschland. These Prinzen Rolle came described as 'dopplekeske mit kakaocreme-fullung' ... or in english 'two biscuit pieces with a chocolate cream filling'.

I brought two packs (100.0g each) into my office that contained about 8 or so biscuits. Thankfully I managed to nab two myself prior the rest of my co workers demolished them before the clock hit 11am. In regards to presentation I thought the packaging was all rather standard with the packet constructed using a simple thin plastic layer and basic illustratives and fonts to communicate the contents. The biscuits themselves were rather large and seemed to contain a plentiful chocolate creme layer sandwiched between the biscuit pieces. Despite the plastic layer being rather thin the biscuits remained unbroken despite the significant amount of travelling they did to reach me. In regards to smell they emanated a sweet malty smell that was certainly what I would regard as tempting.

Lets start off with getting the negatives out the way - one thing that really disappointed me about these was the fact that it was impossible to separate the biscuit pieces from the cocoa creme. If you don't have the foggiest what I am on about click HERE - unfortunately this wonderful biscuit procedure just couldn't be performed - heaven knows why but this bothered me just a little. Moving away from my bizarre eating method annoyances the biscuits tasted pretty good. I thought the outer biscuits lacked a little direction in their flavours and could have probably just done with a touch of both brown sugar and salt to really bring to life the pretty bog standard wheat and malt flavours. Conversely the cocoa creme needed no fine tuning at all. It had a very smooth texture and delivered a creamy chocolaty hit that was simply delicious. Despite only managing to grab two they proved to be a worthwhile snack and settled my mid morning munchies until lunch.

Overall these were on the whole some pretty standard biscuits yet nonetheless received good reviews from all who indulged on them in my office. The actual biscuit element was really nothing too special but the cocoa creme was notably excellent. As far as chocolate biscuits go I wouldn't say that these were anything worthy of getting overly hyped up about. At the same time though I would suggest that if your mad about your chocolate biscuits I think that you would probably really enjoy trying them. However for those like me that enjoy deconstructing (aka playing haha) with your biscuits before eating them - you might just want to stay clear ... a biscuit that you can't break apart ... I never :)

7.5 out of 10


Tuesday, 21 July 2009

July 21st: Whittaker's Zestful Dark Orange

Kcal 508 Fat 26.0g Fat(sats) 16.6g Carbs 64.2g (per 100.0g)

Last month having received dozens upon dozens of requests for me to review some Whittaker's products I finally got around to trying out their '72% Ghanaian Dark Chocolate'. That bar was very well received indeed even gained itself a coveted ChocolateMission 9.0 rating. Because of this I was absolutely delighted when I was given the opportunity by Shopenzed to have a try of the 'Whittaker's Zestful Dark Orange' variant. Comprised of orange peel in dark chocolate I was admittedly a little sceptical, though given the previous success I was very much willing to give it a go.

The presentation of this bar was almost identical to that of the '72% Ghanaian' and came in a 250.0g format. The outer packaging was once again superb and combined the same golden coloured background but this time with a very apt orange secondary colour scheme. The chocolate itself was sectioned up nicely into bite seize chunks which surprisingly didn't crumble apart despite the heavy portioning of the orange peel slithers. I was a little cautious at the potential of the orange peel within the chocolate though my confidence became greater when I noticed the gorgeous juicy orangey scents that were released when the thick gold foil wrapper was unravelled.

I guess prior to trying this I was a little worried that the added orange might ruin the lovely flavour development of the dark chocolate and that it might prove to be more of a nuisance rather than an enhancer. I am glad to report that I didn't perceive this to be the case and was duly impressed by the way in which the dark chocolate was first allowed to substantiate itself before the orange came in to play. Just as I experienced with the plain dark chocolate Whittaker's bar the base dark chocolate flavours were both full of flavour and friendly in regards to taste. It had a wonderfully smooth melt that ebbed and flowed with the increasing degree of cocoa flavours that it lay down in the mouth. The chocolate was unsweetened, yet never bitter due to both the consistent cream undertone and the sweetness from the orange peel that came into play later on. Despite my scepticism at the orange peel it was frankly utterly delicious. The dark chocolate did have a hint of orange fruit to it, though the real bursts of orange came when the glace peel pieces were left in the mouth once the chocolate had melted away. They were a wonderful way to round off the taste and provided a sweet, juicy fruit flavour hit with their soft, slightly chewy textures. The resulting taste was one that developed nicely in the mouth and kept my interest from the first to the last piece.

Overall I have completely bottled it with the score here as I haven't been able to decide whether I prefer the dark chocolate solus or it with the added orange as with this bar. The conclusion is a simply one and it is a matter of mood and state of mind - would I prefer a plain dark chocolate or a fruit infused one? Both bars were equally tasty and I would quite happily indulge in either again in the short term future. Whittaker's are proving to be quite a favourite brand of mine as both of their products I have tried have been superb. If your a chocolate orange fan I would seriously suggest you try this bar as it is easily up there with some of the best of this part of the market - it comes with a two thumbs up recommendation from me.

9.0 out of 10

Monday, 20 July 2009

July 20th: Lindt Caribbean Dream

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

The sheer amount of innovation coming from Lindt for this summer is quite amazing - we really do have nothing of the sort here in the UK. Luckily though there are companies like Dean-German-Grocery who sent me this bar today all the way from Germany. I suggest that if you like the look of any of the German produced chocolate bars on this website that you pay them a visit - they ship worldwide! This Lindt Caribbean Dream bar was formed of 'white chocolate with coconut flakes and pineapple pieces.

The bar came a 100.0g format that was broken down in to rows that had five small blocks in each. The wrapper had a very summery look and implemented a pleasant turquoise colour theme with the traditional white background. As aforementioned the bar itself was broken down in to small blocks - personally I would have preferred them to be a little bigger but regardless I still liked the look of the chocolate with the white bumpy fruit running throughout. As well as being evident aesthetically the fruit also played a key part in the aroma of the bar with the pineapple and coconut nicely complimenting the forthcoming dairy smells.

If you familiar with my previous Lindt white chocolate reviews you will be aware that I am a pretty big proponent of it. In this bar it was once again superb and had a sweet cream based taste that melted at a delightful pace and smoothness. The usual vanilla note made way for the fruit flavours though it was hardly missed due to the strength of the pineapple and coconut. What I liked about the fruit implementation here was the way that Lindt managed to give both an equal say in the taste. Some pieces had more of a coconut influence, whilst others more pineapple. Both gave the chocolate another flavour dimension with their fresh flavours though I must admit that at times the pineapple did add just a touch too much sweetness which meant that consuming this bar more than a few blocks at a time wasn't the greatest idea.

Overall when consumed in small amounts this bar was as decent as any of the Lindt white chocolate range. The slightly rough feel brought by the dried fruit pieces meant that the texture of the bar wasn't the greatest though I guess neither the coconut or pineapple could have been implemented any other way. The taste was certainly refreshingly with the two different fruit elments and had the usual distinct cream flavours experienced with other Lindt white chocolate bars. If I had one small criticism it would be that this wasn't a chocolate I could eat in great quantities which meant that on the whole it wasn't the most satisfying or fulfilling. I would say this is a bar definitely worth a look at if you like your white chocolate.

8.2 out of 10

Sunday, 19 July 2009

July 19th: 7Days of Chocolate Reviews - Edition 6

The ChocolateMission Omnibus:

The high standards of the week before continued this week with most products scoring the upper 7.0s and lower 8.0s.

Starting the week off to a flier the Zentis Belnuga racked up a simply brilliant 8.8 out of 10 and was worth every point with cracking it's integration of a hazelnut praline centre into its tasty marzipan. This bar especially seemed to catch the eye of readers Lu, Lottie and Deano who e-mailed me asking where he could lay he hands on one (Dean-German-Grocery!).

My look at Taste of Nature's Cookie Dough Bites range also continued this week with me reviewing both the Fudge Brownie and Dark Chocolate variants. General consensus about these is that although they don't appear to be of the highest quality at least they are a lot more interesting than the cinema snacks we get here in the UK ... cheaper as well!

By far and away the most popular review this week was my look at the Nutella&GO snack. This review brought all the Nutella fans out the woods with Heidi, Claudia, Mark, Chris and endless others expressing their love for the nutty toast topper. The Twitter feed especially got a lot of feedback about this one ... if you want to 'follow' me on Twitter click HERE.


News from the Chocolate Market:

* Scientists in Switzerland have created a low calorie chocolate with 90% less calories than a standard chocolate bar ... looks like I am going to have to review this one. This article was submitted by my own Mother :) See HERE

* Mars have lost a court case over the trademarking of the aesthetic look of the Bounty bar. See HERE

* Thorntons' have just announced their Q4 results which have come in at -2.7% ... they have blamed the hot weather. See HERE

* Nestle have ditched the 'designer' style look for their Black Magic range and have reverted back to their traditional packaging. See HERE

* Ethical food supplier Brand Strand have revamped their own packaging by adding a slogan 'chocolate saves trees'. See HERE


Posts from other Blogs I enjoyed this week:

* GiGi Reviews - GiGi looked at another flavour from the Haagen-Dazs FIVE range - this time Ginger. Milk, Cream, Ginger, Sugar and Eggs .. simply made, and simply delicious according to GiGi. See HERE

* Foodstufffinds - Continues to seek out the newest products hitting out Supermarkets and this week got to grips with McVities' Penguin Bakes. See HERE

*CandyBlog - Cybele reviewed the latest Snickers Limited Edition - Fudge ... this is one I would certainly love to try myself. See HERE

* Chocolate&PeanutButter Blog - has some photos of some utterly delicious looking cupcakes ... I suggest you take a look for yourself. See HERE


Question of the week:

'What is your favourite recipe that includes chocolate?'

Saturday, 18 July 2009

July 18th: The Original Cookie Dough Bites Dark Chocolate

Kcal 200 Fat 10.0g Fat(sats) 6.0g Carbs 26.0g (per 40.0g)

Today I took another trip to the cinema and another look at a variant from Taste of Nature's Cookie Dough Bites range. The movie - Bruno ... the Cookie Dough Bites - Dark Chocolate. My opinion on the movie was that it didn't reach the levels of hilariousness of Borat, which by my estimation is one of the funniest films ever made. Whilst the movie was disappointing I at least got my chance to get to grips with these cookie dough bites covered in dark chocolate thanks to CandyPirate. Having tried the Milk Chocolate & Fudge Brownie flavours already I was hoping for similarly positive things from these.

It seems a little silly running through the finer details of the packaging as I have already done it twice before (with two flavours after this one still remaining also!) ... so I will keep this short. Just like the previous the bites came in an 88.0g box that contained one single plastic packet with the large pea sized pieces contained within. The outer packaging used the same design and font work, however incorporated a purple coloured background which I thought represented the dark chocolate flavour well enough. Inside I was surprised to see that the outer chocolate was a little lighter in colour than I was expecting. That said I did perceive a relatively nice chocolaty smell that gave the proposition at hand a little more promise.

Despite Sasha Baron Cohen's camp antics proving relatively distracting I did manage to focus enough on these to substantiate an opinion on the taste for me to write about. Just as I thought like most mass confection dark chocolates the chocolate was not 'dark' as such but more unsweetened in its taste. In comparison to the Milk Chocolate variant I didn't really perceive any greater impetuous from the strength of the cocoa flavours but what I did notice was that the dark chocolate here lacked the sweetness of the aforementioned which made the taste a little less monotonous and more multi channeled. Whilst I enjoyed the Milk Chocolate variant I felt the sugaryness of the chocolate and the cookie dough filling made for a rather one dimensional taste and that there wasn't much of a distinction to be made between the two layers. Things were a little different here as the dark chocolate was more differentiated which meant the taste progressed from the chocolate to the cookie dough more noticeably. The chocolate first substantiated a fair chocolaty base taste that when melted away then revealed the sugary, wheat flavours of the inner cookie dough. Once again I shared these with friends meaning I got around a third of a pack at most - this proved to be a decent enough amount.

Overall these are my favourite I have tried from the range so far as I thought the dark chocolate worked a little better than the previously reviewed Milk Chocolate. Although Bruno the film was a little bit of a damp squib at least I was able to munch down on a pretty decent snack that I certainly enjoyed. The dark chocolate was never going to be of the highest quality but at the same time I thought its unsweetened nature worked better than previous chocolate coatings from this range which have proved to be a little on the sweet side. If your looking for a decent enough cinema snack you would do little wrong having a look at these.

7.5 out of 10


Head to Candy Pirate to get all your American Candy & Chocolate needs

Friday, 17 July 2009

July 17th: Niederegger Marzipan Ginger

Kcal ??? Fat ??? Fat(sats) ??? Carbs ???

I think it is pretty widely known that I am generally a big proponent when it comes to most Niederegger products and Dean-German-Grocery haven't exactly been backward in regards to supplying me with their products. Most products of theirs I have tried I have enjoyed and until recently I thought they were untouchable in the marzipan sector ... that was until Zentis proved they could be equally skilled with their marzipan craftsmanship. Given the previous I was pretty excited at todays Niederegger offering as it combined several of my favourite ingredients. 'Bitter sweet chocolate with ginger marzipan' certainly sounded a tempting prospect to me.

Niederegger have some funky product formats but this one came in a standard 100.0g bar. The packaging was pretty attractive with the usual red colour background replaced with a differentiated yellow theme. As with other high quality products this one was protected in both a foil layer and cardboard sheaf to ensure that the bar remained in top condition. Altogether I was very impressed by the presentation of the product - because it was Niederegger I wasn't all that surprised. The chocolate looked appetising with a plentiful helping of marzipan whilst it emanated a spicy ginger smell that set my expectations even higher.

I hate repeating myself but sometimes it is just necessary and ultimately impossible not to do so. I wish I could say the chocolate was of a great standard here but if I did I would frankly be lying. It was by no means terrible by any stretch of the imagination but just like any other Niederegger product it lacked the true quality that the accompanying marzipan deserved. At best the cocoa flavours were shallow and altogether what I would describe as muffled as the flavours never developed enough to deliver a true chocolate hit. Your probably thinking that if the chocolate was that disappointing the marzipan would of had to have been something special to get an 8.0 in the taste test ... it was! Conversely to the chocolate the marzipan was bursting full of different flavour tangents with the taste rooted in the delicious dough flavours that I now instantly recognise as Niederegger. In addition to the bread like undertone the almond nut flavours were evident from the outset and were nicely complimented by the additional ginger element. The ginger wasn't perhaps as strong as the smell suggested it might be but it was enough to leave a lasting impression in the mouth.

Overall I can't deny that I didn't enjoy this product, however on reflection I am a firm believer that if something isn't broken it shouldn't be fixed. By this I mean that the marzipan didn't quite need the extra ginger - I thought it was nice nonetheless but I would have been happier with just being able to savour the marzipan in its usual form. As I have said so many times before I can't deny that Niederegger marzipan isn't of the highest quality ... it simply is. Niederegger have their marzipan recipe spot on - they just need a little work (or reformulation) on their chocolate! In regards to this bar I would recommend it if you fancy a little change up from the traditional Niederegger offering ... personally though I think I might just stay with the original.

7.9 out of 10
 

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